Monday, May 16, 2005

Letter from Uma

Uma is a Chinese girl that I have known for almost 1,5 years now. She studies at Peking University and did an internship in Stockholm a couple of months this winter.

I just read your blog and saw the football post.

Hehe.. I think I mostly agree with you on it, but at the same time, i think
the people here dont really have hostility to you. For eg, you remember that
time we went to school for the immigrant worker's kids? Those guys went
together with us didnt talk to you when they first met you. you seemed quite
annoyed when we were on the bus, so i asked them why they dont talk to you
and why they dont introduce themselves. they were quite surprised. they said
if they try to talk to you it will seem to be very bad, like they are EAGER
to talk to foreigners, and you can see that, they were actually quite
friendly to you after i told them that it may made you feel bad if they
never talked to you, and i told them that it was not very friendly to do
that. I think they just dont have the sense to shake hands with people or
say "hey" or talk to a stranger voluntarily. it is not the custom. but i do
think most of people would like to be friendly to you, they just dont know
how to do it. you cant really blame them that they dont shake hands and say
"hi", that's atually considered very western in a way, we dont have it in
our long history, for eg, shaking hands, is not that nature for a chinese to
do when they first meet someone.

You know, in a way, I dont like to be here either, even want to escape, or
maybe if once i do so, i ll never be back.. but I do think i love the
country, I can understand it deeply in my mind. My heart hurts when people
criticize it and especially when i know what they say is actually right. I
dont like most of the people here and I admit that because of the lack of
education or the way the communists educate people, there is lots of
blindness in this country, but it is not their fault, they dont really have
a choice. You know that when we were in the west of China, there were lots
of people who are genuinely friendly and helped us a lot, they are not well
educated, but if you just follow their customs, they treat you like real
friend. Do you believe that, if you once meet any difficulty there or maybe
even in beijing, im sure there always people would like to help you.
Generally i think, people here are actually friendly to you, they just dont
know how to express it, and most of them are not conscious about what may
hurt your feelings, like the people who shout after you, you know, we two
girls met this too on the train back to beijing, we felt annoyed, but we
know that it is not hostility. you are rare, so got more attentions, that's

When i was in Sweden, i think people will shake hands with me, that is the
custom i think, they used to do that to strangers, but they dont really talk
to me if i dont talk to them first, especially girls, sometimes even i try
hard to talk to them but got few replies... i once asked Daniel, he said he
just think they are too shy to speak english.

Well. seems i said too much;) actually i agree with you on most of it. but
still, i think that is just the way they act seems not that friendly, after
all the culture is that different, not really mean inside, they are not
friendly to you.


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